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Atlanta To Build Low-Carbon Transportation Projects By 2020

Atlanta To Build Low-Carbon Transportation Projects By 2020

As part of the American Cities Climate Challenge, Atlanta will be one of 5 cities to build a bike or transit project. (Shutterstock)

ATLANTA, GA — The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), announced Wednesday a partnership with five cities—Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia—to accelerate the implementation of high-quality bike and transit corridors by the end of 2020. This work, part of the American Cities Climate Challenge, will help the cities meet, or beat, their near-term carbon reduction goals.

"Atlanta is poised to build a 21st Century transportation system," said Keisha Lance Bottoms, mayor of Atlanta in a press release. "With our forthcoming launch of the city’s first-ever Department of Transportation and access to the NACTO network’s expertise, we will emerge from the Climate Challenge with world-class bike lanes, important new sidewalk connections and a team ready to deliver sustainable mobility options for all Atlantans."

With transportation as the largest single sector of carbon emissions in the U.S., tackling climate change from the street up is a highly effective tool for city governments to take environmental action. Over the next 18 months, NACTO, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Delivery Associates will provide technical expertise and implementation assistance to each participating city. This in-depth support will help the cities develop and build high-quality bike or transit corridors designed to attract riders, reduce reliance on single-occupancy vehicles, and confront climate change head-on.

The partnerships will build on NACTO’s Accelerator model, which helps cities vision, refine, and build internal consensus for bike and transit projects, and gives them the design training necessary to realize their transportation goals. NACTO will provide technical expertise, convene workshops, and create open channels of communication between the participating cities and NACTO’s broader network of 82 cities and transit agencies across North America, who will advise and share lessons from completing similar projects in their own communities.

At the end of 2020, when the Climate Challenge is complete, the five cities will have tangible results to show for their participation: a transformative bike or transit project that increases access to low-carbon transportation options, as well as the technical knowledge, internal process alignment, and external support needed to continue building people-first streets at an accelerated pace.

"There’s tremendous potential in streets," said Corinne Kisner, executive director of NACTO. "At over 80 percent of urban public space, streets are a vital resource for cities taking climate action. By dedicating more space for high-quality bike and transit lanes, cities can increase access to low-carbon transportation options that are not only attractive, but also safe and reliable. The Climate Challenge cities are doing just this: by committing to these projects, they’re tapping into the potential of their streets to build a more equitable low-carbon future."

"Given the federal government’s complete failure to act on climate change, local governments must step up," said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action. "These accelerator cities are doing just that, and we’re glad to support them as they enact the innovative, low-carbon policies we need in order to bring down emissions and strengthen the economy and clean the air we breathe."

"Transportation accounts for the largest single sector of carbon emissions in the United States," said Amanda Eaken, director of Transportation and Climate for NRDC. "Mayors are leading the way redesigning their city streets and prioritizing people, in one of the highest impact opportunity areas for American cities to reduce emissions and work towards a more sustainable future."

Follow the progress of NACTO’s five Climate Challenge focus cities at nacto.org/climatechallenge, and learn more about the American Cities Climate Challenge and all 25 selected cities at bloomberg.org/climatechallenge.

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